Sunday, April 24, 2005

A difficult ministry

Two nights ago I was searching through a memberlist on Stephen Bennett's (a Christian ministry dedicated to sharing the truth in love about God's Word and homosexuality) website message board and
found out that some registered "members" had posted website links to porn sites! I was horrified! I knew that Stephen would not be pleased about this so I emailed the site admin about it. This resulted in closing down public access to the member list until the offensive links could all be found and eliminated.

Why do people do such things? Were they just trying to be funny?
Were they mocking Stephen's ministry? Are they just plain evil? Or, as Jesus might say, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they

Porn addiction is very real. Unfortunately, even in the Christian community. It's like smoking. Once you try it, you either cough to
death, get disgusted and never want to experience that again (me, as a teen) or you keep on smoking because you think it's cool, thrilling and pleasurable. Then your body wants more and more and suddenly, you are addicted.

Some people claim that porn is harmless. Not at all true. Sexual sin ALWAYS hurts SOMEONE and unfortunately there are victims that
we may never even know about. Just like with smoking. A person can
"get away with it" for years, unscathed, and then suddenly, they get a CAT scan and find out they have lung cancer. This just happened to a relative of mine. She had been smoking since age 15 and now, in her
early 60's she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. She is in my
prayers daily. She stopped smoking the day of her diagnosis.
Sometimes it takes the reality of a severe consequence to get one to realize their addiction and motivate them to stop what is making
them sick.

Back to my original topic. Last night I visited Stephen's new blog spot.
He is an ex-gay, now married for 12 years to his beautiful wife, Irene
and they have two precious children. He is attempting to open up a dialogue between his Christian ministry (which is designed to help individuals out of their unwanted homosexual attraction through the saving grace of Jesus Christ) and the homosexual community which is, unfortunately, often guilty of brutally attacking him for his conversion
to Christ and ministry geared towards helping all people, especially
gays and lesbians, to find Christ and live life to the fullest. He has even started a dialogue there with Rosie O'Donnell, who happens to live in
the same vicinity as he and his family! The following is a post that I placed at his blog site:

Hello Stephen,

I was the person who emailed about the discovery of the porn site links.
I'm sorry if I ruined your evening! :-( I was searching for additional Christian
sites from your member list and boy was I shocked when I found that some of
their website links were to porn sites! I knew that you wouldn't be happy about
it and I'm glad to see that it has been resolved now.My family and I live in
California. The year that Proposition 22 was passed with a 62% majority vote was
the year that I became involved with battling the homosexual agenda in our
public school. A neighbor of mine came running over extremely upset that a
gay-straight alliance was being started in our school. We are a mostly
conservative, Republican area (yes, there ARE some in CA!) and this was not
welcomed by many of my fellow Christian friends. I must admit that I was
reluctant to get involved with such a politically explosive issue. But I was
asked to sit in on some of the GSA meetings and my heart just ached and broke
for these kids! I wasn't allowed to speak, just observe. How I wanted to share
the love of Jesus Christ with these boys and girls! We offered to have an ex-gay
male come to share his story at a meeting but were turned down. I met with an
ex-gay man named Dean (now married to a woman) from Desert Stream Ministries and
he shared his story with me over lunch. I wept with grief, then joy as he shared
his life journey both into and then out of, homosexuality. We held hands and
prayed about our plan for him to speak at a GSA meeting. How I wished that we
weren't turned down by the school advisors! If only those kids had the chance to
hear his story and how he overcame homosexual behavior through the saving grace
of Christ! Sometime later, I was invited to a public forum at a local community
college campus. There were over 65 people attending and only 5 of us were
conservative Christians! Talk about being outnumbered! The leader for the
Christians was also a writer for the local newspaper. Here is a portion of what
he wrote:"Yet one of the most compelling stories told at the forum came from a
cultural conservative who shared her story about a friend of hers who was once
gay but now is not. The friend struggled with his sexuality for years and felt
outcast in the straight world. He found acceptance in the gay community. Later,
with motivation and faith in God, he changed his sexual orientation (he has been
married for five years now). But the change was seen as a betrayal to his gay
friends and he found he was an outcast once more."I am so pleased to see a blog
like yours online Stephen. I think that it is truly a step in the right
direction to open up the dialogue between people with opposing views without
being drowned out by the shouting and claims of bigoty, hatred, and homophobia.
God bless you for your efforts. Your type of ministry is one of the most
difficult (IMHO) that I have ever encountered and it is evident to me that the
Holy Spirit is guiding your way. As a Christian who previously didn't realize
the struggles of gay and ex-gay people, your website is certainly helpful in
tempering my attitudes and approach towards gay-affirming people in a more
loving and Godly way. Thank you for that!At that college forum, there were some
hot debates and tempers flared at times. At the end of the forum, a few people
approached me with some questions. One female student was apparently moved by
the real-life experiences and struggles I had shared regarding an ex-gay friend
(Dean's story). She wanted to know more about the strength and healing he had
obtained through his return to faith. We discussed the meaning of forgiveness
and repentance. She shared some concerns about a lesbian friend and I offered
some words of encouragement. We had a brief but nice discussion.What a pleasant
surprise that after three hours of sharing differing opinions a few from the
other side took the time to shake hands with the five or so conservatives and
thanked them for attending. As I reflect on that experience, I must admit that I
went from shaking in my boots (literally!) at the beginning of the forum to
shaking hands with those who were on the opposite side of the political
spectrum! It may only be my opinion but I couldn't help but notice a glimmer of
hope shine through for more breakthrough discussion in the future. I truly think
that your blog will be such a place for breakthrough discussions just like the
one I experienced when I attended that college forum!

God bless you, your lovely family and your ministry,


Please keep Stephen, his family and his ministry in your prayers. As I stated in my post, I think that it has to be one of the most difficult ministries because of the fact that it is often attacked from all sides.

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